Two days after being announced as the new men's basketball head coach, Ernie Kent was formally introduced as the 18th head coach in WSU history at a press conference on Wednesday. Joined by athletic director Bill Moos, Kent took to center court at Beasley coliseum with fans, media and the entire basketball team in attendance.
Kent opened the press conference by talking about the reasons he took the job. As expected, his relationship with Moos played a major role. Kent said he never retired to a beach or pulled the golf clubs out. Instead, he said he knew the day would come when he got back into coaching. He said he prepared to transition back into coaching, working seven days a week.
More on Ernie Kent
More on Ernie Kent
"My energy and my passion for the game of college basketball and my life is relentless," Kent said.
Kent said Greg Graham and Silvey Domiguez will join the staff and he'll add one more assistant coach within the next two weeks. Kent has long relationships with both. Graham coached under Kent at Oregon before becoming the head coach of Boise State. He was an assistant at Bradley last year. Domiguez coached with Kent at St. Marys.
Like Mike Leach, Kent was asked "why Washington State?" Kent mentioned playing and coaching in Pullman and seeing first hand how it can be. Building that back up will now be the challenge, but one Kent said he is looking forward to undertaking.
As far as the team goes, Kent didn't do anything to lower expectations from the jump.
"I'm fully confident you have a winning basketball team sitting over there," Kent said. "And it's my job to bring it out of them."
Kent successfully recruited the midwest while at Oregon and from the sound of it, he'll do the same at WSU. He told a story of getting off a plane with WSU President Elson Floyd when Kent was coming to Pullman to call a game. The weather was cold and windy. He said that is why the Cougars need to recruit Chicago and Detroit where the Pullman weather isn't a factor. He said you have to sell the reality of what Pullman offers and said the environment is "very conducive to success."
"I pride myself on building basketball teams and I think you have a terrific environment to build a basketball team," he said.
Moos only spoke briefly, but he talked about the process of hiring Kent and did so in true Bill Moos style. Moos is a storyteller and began the introduction about the first time he met Kent. He talked about Kent's ability to recruit, coach and mold players into men. When it came to offering Kent the job, Moos saw the mutual benefit to both Kent and WSU.
"Ernie, I've got something you want and need and you've got have something I want and need. Let's get it done," Moos said.